Water and headspace

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Bowhunter32

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I know of all the alternatives to filling up headspace with water. My question is how much water do you consider to be too much? Last night after my first secondary rerack of a strong flavored cherry wine I filled the headspace with an entire bottle of bottled water. This diluted the batch by approximately 1/30th. This late in the game is this considered to be too much? or would it be no different than having used 14.5# of cherries instead of 15# (1/30th less)? Thoughts?
 

bernardsmith

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Why not taste the wine. If it tastes as if you have diluted it too much you can look for some way to increase the flavor. If it tastes ok then no foul..
 
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Bowhunter32

Bowhunter32

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thanks for the reply. I was more-so wondering if anyone has any personal experiences with topping off with too much water. And how much is too much.
 

botigol

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Unfortunately, this is a question that is highly subjective and also variable. Not only will you have different answers from different wine makers, but also you would probably get different answers from the same wine maker between different batches due to variation of ripeness, pH and type(s) of cherries used.
 

Yooper

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thanks for the reply. I was more-so wondering if anyone has any personal experiences with topping off with too much water. And how much is too much.
Too much is when you taste the wine, and it tastes watered down. It could be 1/4, 1/10, etc- it depends on the recipe, your goals for the wine, the ABV already in the wine, etc.

I generally make a larger batch, so I top off with the same wine (if I want a 5 gallon batch in the final carboy, I make a 5.5 gallon batch of the wine). I put it in different vessels, just for topping off. So, the wine will be in the 5 gallon carboy in secondary, and I'll have a growler with a bung and airlock with the top off wine. And as I rack and top off, the extra vessel might be a small wine bottle.

That can be a pain, but once you have a lot of wine in your cellar, you can top off with a previously made wine that is similar.

Or, in the case of not having extra and not wanting to use water, you can top up with a similar commercial wine. Pinot grigio is a marvelous addition to dandelion wine, as an example. If it's more than a little, I would simply rack to a smaller vessel. I have tons of 1, 3, 5, 6 gallon carboys and lots of magnum wine bottles and growlers.
 
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Bowhunter32

Bowhunter32

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The last several batches I've done I brewed 6+ gallons in the primary. I have a multitude of 1 gallon containers as well as beer bottles of extra wine. The problem is I get stringent on using the additional wine I brewed specifically for topping off because I want to bottle it for drinking :D I guess this will be more of a wait, see, and learn from type of thing.

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